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Black Friday and Cyber Monday - the headlines so far

By: Hitwise

Cyber Week 2017 was the welcomed boost that retailers were waiting for.

After a subdued October, the Online Retail Industry received over 1.4 billion visits from the Monday (20-Nov) to Cyber Monday (27-Nov), a result 6% higher than the previous year.

Continuing the trend from last year, retailers started their promotions earlier and extended these for longer; blurring the lines between when Cyber Week ends and when Christmas sales begins.

So, using Hitwise data, here are our top findings to date.

1. Largest YoY growth in the days before Cyber Week

From Friday to Sunday (17-19 Nov), online retail visits grew 10-11% YoY. This was largely spurred on by top retailers, including Amazon, Argos and Currys, starting their Black Friday promotions the week before Cyber Week.

Black Friday (24-Nov) saw only 1% growth, an addition of 2.7 million visits, to 200.0 million visits. Whereas, Cyber Monday (27-Nov) rose by 7%, an addition of 12.0 million visits, to 195.7 million visits, almost matching that of Black Friday.

This means that growth trajectory could be plateauing for Black Friday, but the days before and after are providing greater opportunity for retailers. 

2. Amazon once again dominated, with 25% of all retail traffic and 7.7% conversions on Black Friday

At similar levels of dominance as last year, Amazon accounted for over 25% of retail traffic over Cyber Week.

A key difference in 2017 was that Amazon saw more visits to their site on Cyber Monday (at 51.2 million), compared to Black Friday (at 50.3 million). Looking at Amazon’s conversions (i.e. a visit that ends up as a transaction), the retailer still converted more on Black Friday, processing 3.9 million transactions (a 7.7% visit-to-conversion rate).

But Cyber Monday was still a hit for Amazon, as conversions were up 15% compared to the previous year (vs. 5% YoY on Black Friday). This data suggests that Amazon successfully continued their promotional push on top products, like the Nintendo Switch and Fitbit, right through to Cyber Monday.

3. Greater Cyber Week participation in other retail verticals and sectors

Whilst retail brands saw explosive growth, such as Pretty Little Thing (+98% in w/e 25-Nov YoY) and Beauty Bay (+91%), other industries also got involved. These included sellers in Travel Agencies (+20%) and Ticketing (+71%).

The likes of Ticketmaster saw their online share grow by 119% in the week ending 25-Nov YoY, as they offered half price tickets on Black Friday and released extra tickets on Cyber Monday. Competition in travel also heated up, from hoteliers like Travelodge, to online aggregators like Booking.com and Hotels.com.

Selected Travel Players
Visit Share % YoY Change, w/e 25-Nov

Furthermore, Cyber Week was not only for the sellers, but also an opportunity for other channels to promote or publish content. Players in Print Media (+21%), like The Guardian, The Sun and so on, and Business & Finance – Marketing (+32%), which included Campaign Live, The Drum and Econsultancy, saw significant increases in traffic, compared to last year. 

4. The importance of email and print media as traffic sources grew

Search was the dominant traffic source, accounting for 39.6% of all clicks going to retail industry (w/e 25-Nov) – a norm across all industries.

Yet, Cyber Week 2017 saw greater reliance on two other smaller, but important channels, which were Email and Print Media. Clicks from Email grew 16% YoY (to a total of 2.5% of all clicks) and clicks from Print Media grew by 29% (to 2.4% of all clicks).

Key Traffic Sources to Online Retail Industry 
Week Ending 25-Nov

5. Shoppers are becoming more savvy, increasingly using price comparison sites as a point of reference

Which? once again released their Black Friday report, cautioning shoppers over Black Friday deals by stating that 60% of prices were lower at other times of the year. Clicks from Which? to other retail sites grew by 14% (in the w/e 25-Nov YoY) as a result.  

This site, along with other price comparison and review sites, like Price Spy (+71%), Trusted Reviews (+47%) and Money Saving Expert (+11%), were increasingly used as a point of reference.

Are shoppers becoming more sceptical over Black Friday? This data suggests at least that more research is undertaken, before hitting the purchase button on a retail site.

 

Read more

Download Hitwise’s full Headlines Report.

Hitwise will be releasing a full report in the week of 4th December, which will include hour by hour performance across top retailers, search analysis and hot products for Cyber Week.

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